Kentucky is full of stone fences, otherwise known as rock fences or dry stone walls. It is claimed that we have more of them than any other place in the country. They are well documented in photographs, both beautiful and sobering all at the same time when you take into account the amount of man hours and skill that went into these structures.
I’ve heard about specific stretches of wall and read about others that also called them “slave walls” because they helped gather the stones for the building and the building technique was passed on to them from the Irish. As land was cleared across these regions, especially the Bluegrass, it is claimed that the stones found on the land were put to the purpose of building walls. Other walls are specifically built of quarried stone.
Some of these fences marked pastures to keep animals in. Others marked land boundaries to keep others out.
Irish immigrants are given credit for the design and “know how” of building these amazing structures – without mortar. Built in the 19th century, miles and miles of them still remain, but even so, one article I read says that is only 10 -15% of the original amount built.
Dry stone walls are not unique to the Bluegrass and other regions of Kentucky. It is just that there is reported to be more of them in this region than any other in the US. This type of wall without mortar has been used around the world and even the Incas left this type of structure behind. The Bible also makes reference to stoned walls.
II Chronicles 14:7 – For he said to Judah, “Let us build these cities and surround them with walls and towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours because we have sought the LORD our God; we have sought Him, and He has given us rest on every side.”
Isaiah 58:12 -“Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; You will raise up the age-old foundations; And you will be called the repairer of the breach, The restorer of the streets in which to dwell.”